How wonderful to be a part of Cheryl's Month of Joy. I was thrilled when she asked me and then I started thinking of what I wanted to write about. Very often joy is illusive and as difficult to hold onto as a handful of melting ice cream. Despite our best efforts, sometimes it just slips through our fingers.
We all go through difficult times and when we do, it pushes the joy right out of our lives. I've been a reader and writer all my life and always found joy in the written word. But when my husband lost his battle with colon cancer in 2006, I plunged into a deep, dark pit. I was hard pressed to find a speck of joy anywhere. I stopped writing. How could I write about love and romance when the man I gave my heart to so long ago was no longer with me?
I began to climb out of that pit by taking small steps. Emails, thank you cards and slowly getting back to reading short Bible verses. After a few months of that, I began recording my thoughts in a journal and searching for the words that seems to be frozen in my brain. I put no pressure on myself. That was the key to thawing the words.
"...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Psalms 30:5
I found myself repeating that verse and soon I started to believe it. I understood how precious life is and I didn't want to waste any of it being bogged down in despair. I began moving. And writing. I wrote stories in six anthologies over the next five years with Jodi Thomas, DeWanna Pace, and Phyliss Miranda for Kensington Publishing. Plus a short story in Hearts and Spurs that came out in January with Prairie Rose Publications.
Eventually, I sold my house and moved to be near my children and grandchildren. I learned how to laugh again, how to write and how to love the life God has given me.
Last year I sold a trilogy called The Bachelors of Battle Creek to Sourcebooks Publishing and Book One will release January 2015. I'm making great strides these days. Just proves that good things come to those who persevere. We can climb those mountains when we keep putting one foot in front of the other.
So, I would say that the key to finding and keeping joy is to embrace life, laugh and love as freely as you can. The sky will be more blue, the birds' songs sweeter. Stay strong and never, ever give up.
Linda resides in the panhandle of Texas on the Llano Estacado, land the American Indians and comancheros once roamed. At a young age, she discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up. She's a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author and has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold Award.
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